posted on September 11, 2020

Porsche’s first-ever EV lives up to the hype

Porsche’s first all-electric vehicle is finally here! The much-anticipated Taycan is a huge milestone for the Stuttgart automaker, as well as the world of EVs. Not since the Tesla Model S debuted in 2012 has any electric car generated so much hype. And at first blush, the hype surely seems deserved.

Porsche unveiled the Mission E concept in 2015 to much fanfare — the electric concept captivated Porsche fans with big promises and a sleek design. Many have been yearning for a high-end EV to compete with Tesla, and a model from Porsche would finally present an alternative option with curb appeal and a usable range.

Malcolm’s 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S (San Francisco, CA)

Turo host Malcolm is an ardent Porsche enthusiast who offers a 718 Boxster and a 991 Carrera S on Turo, and now has added his 2020 Taycan 4S — one of the first in the marketplace. “When the Taycan was announced it was the first time another manufacturer actually challenged Tesla and was taken seriously,” said Malcolm. “I immediately put down a deposit.”

Malcolm’s 2020 Taycan 4S

The Taycan (pronounced tie-kahn) cuts a striking figure on the road. Maybe it’s not classically beautiful to some, but it looks right — futuristic, sleek, athletic. The flush door handles and absence of chrome keep the exterior looking neat and tidy. And perhaps most importantly, it looks like a Porsche.

Performance is the top priority for every car Porsche makes, and the Taycan certainly is no exception. This is the first EV to use a two-speed transmission, allowing for quicker acceleration from the two electric motors driving all four wheels. Malcolm’s Taycan here is a 4S, the base trim level. With the optional battery upgrade, the Taycan 4S’s 562 horsepower rocket the car to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds with launch control. So it’s plenty quick. But the range-topping Taycan Turbo S is a truly ground-breaking machine that maxes out at 750 horsepower and hits 60 in a mere 2.4 seconds — insane acceleration by any measure.

The EPA’s official rating puts the Taycan 4S’s max range at only 203 miles, but Malcolm, as well as other Taycan owners have been able to go much further in Range Mode. “I initially was expecting the range to be significantly worse,” said Malcolm, “but I’m capable of getting nearly 300 miles to the charge — more than enough for daily use.” So the Taycan lags behind the big-battery Teslas when it comes to range, but it’s a pretty good showing all things considered.

The Taycan also shines when it comes to handling. Its low, wide stance and superb Porsche steering communicate with the driver and inspire confidence. Malcolm ordered his car with the “Electric Sport Sound” option, which, when enabled, pipes futuristic whooshing sounds through the speakers. “The humming sound increases as you accelerate, and then there’s this really unique deceleration sound that’s tough to describe… you have to experience it for yourself.” Think of a Tatooine pod racer crossed with a high-end washing machine.

Just as they always do, Porsche delivers on the interior. “The first thing you notice when stepping into the car is the curved dashboard, with fully customizable screens displaying gorgeous colors and animations,” said Malcolm. “It looks like it came straight from a spaceship.” The screens are complimented with exquisite leather and carbon fiber surfaces, with top-level build quality you expect from a legacy automaker like Porsche. And the four-seater’s roof is made of one huge piece of tinted glass, just like you get with Teslas.

The first alternative EV

Despite the Taycan’s excellence in nearly every category, Porsche is still playing catch up. The Taycan doesn’t quite have the range of the top Teslas, doesn’t have the benefit of the Tesla supercharger network, and no matter which trim level you get, it’s far more expensive than the equivalent Model S — in the US, the Taycan 4S starts at $103,000 and the Turbo S starts at a whopping $185,000.

For people in the market for a luxury EV, there are definite pluses and minuses for choosing a Tesla or the Porsche. But now, for the first time, there is a real choice. And for folks like Malcolm who value the driving experience over all, the choice seems pretty clear.

Steven is an avid car guy and content maker at Turo. Between Golden State Warriors games he can be found getting lost somewhere in California.